The Twilight Zone 1.07 recap: Not All Men
Following last week’s episode of the series starring DeWanda Wise, CBS All Access‘ sixth episode of The Twilight Zone stars Taissa Farmiga, Rhea Seehorn, Luke Kirby, and Ike Barinholtz. When a meteor shower spreads an infection across an entire town, some inhabitants are affected more than others. The episode takes a big swing at toxic masculinity, driving home an important message within a twist ending.
The episode begins with Annie (Farmiga) dealing with a jerk of a boss as she accepts a new work assignment and agrees to hang out with her co-worker, Dylan (Kirby) after he invites her to his place. Later that night, the two watch the meteor shower and are surprised when a meteorite lands close by. The two investigate and take the rock back with them to the house.
On the couch, the two start making out. When Dylan gets a little too handsy, Annie says she has to leave because she has work to finish. When she goes to leave, Dylan becomes angry and starts acting irrationally. After a brief confrontation, including Dylan grabbing Annie and temporarily preventing her from leaving, Dylan seemingly calms down and apologizes, telling Annie he’ll see her tomorrow. When she leaves, the whites of Dylan’s eyes subtly start to bleed red as they change color.
As Annie walks away from the house, she hears Dylan screaming and sees him breaking things inside. Jordan Peele officially introduces us to Annie Miller, who has always seen the world as a place where she could maintain control if she just plays by the rules. But this night, the eve of her sister’s birthday, will mark the beginning of a change in her and the idyllic town of Newbury she calls home.
At home, Annie listens to a news anchorman discuss the meteor shower, revealing many more meteorites have landed and been collected by townspeople. Getting ready for work, Annie looks in the mirror and is shaken when she notices bruising on her upper arms from when Dylan grabbed her the night before. At work, Annie’s boss, Phil, tells her that Dylan is going to take the lead on the project she’s been working on. When she tries to protest, he tells her that there are protocols in place.
After her yoga session, Annie experiences PTSD triggers from what happened with Dylan the night before. She notices a man slamming his car trunk over and over, and jumps when another honks his horn at her waiting for her to move her car. Later, Annie parks outside of her sister’s house and is greeted by her nephew, Cole (Percy Hynes White) who says he wishes he could kick Dylan’s ass after hearing he got a little “weird” with Annie.
Inside, they celebrate Annie’s sister, Martha’s (Seehorn) birthday with her husband, Mike (Barinholtz), Annie’s mansplainer boss, Phil, and Phil’s wife who are friends of Martha’s. Annie becomes uncomfortable when Phil mentions how he wants to pair Annie up with their project manager, Dylan. Before the conversation can continue, they hear the neighbor, Larry, suddenly screaming at his lawnmower. The group goes outside to investigate as Larry rages over the hose he just ran over and cut open. They notice that the water is red, and Larry says water and power claim it’s like that all over town but it’s supposed to be harmless.
Boys Being Boys
Annie, her sister, and a group of their friends continue the celebration at a bar. To Annie’s horror, Dylan is also at the bar grabbing drinks with friends. Annie steps outside for some air when her sister and the other ladies try to pressure her into bringing Dylan over and joke about how he’s hot and probably good in bed. Outside, Annie catches Cole and his boyfriend, Steve, grabbing some beer. Annie says she won’t tell if they don’t bust her for her cigarette. The two 15-year-old boys take off after saying goodbye.
Back inside, the women watch as a man at the bar, Zeke, gets angry when the bartender tries to cut him off after one too many shots (which includes “shooting the stone” with bits of meteorites in the glasses). Watching Zeke get more riled up, Annie asks, “What is wrong with them?” Martha responds that it’s just, “Assholes being assholes.” Annie tries to leave when things escalate and Zeke gets violent and a fight breaks out. Several men in the bar, including Dylan, begin to brawl, their eyes going red.
Martha and Annie make their way to the car, passing by one of Annie’s co-workers, Perry, who becomes enraged and starts yelling at Annie accusing her of ignoring him. Martha tries to say that everyone at the bar just had too much to drink. Annie, who is driving, notices that Perry is following them on his motorcycle. They eventually manage to lose him. Martha discovers that Dylan attacked Annie the previous night, even as Annie tries to say that she must have given Dylan “a confusing vibe.” Martha reveals that she knows how Annie is feeling because she has had some bad experiences with men before, too, that she never spoke about.
Annie starts telling her sister that she thinks the meteorites are causing the men’s aggressive behavior to escalate. Before they can discuss her theory, Perry shows up on his motorcycle. The sisters run inside and tell Mike to call the police. When Martha tries to prevent Mike from going outside to confront Perry, he yells that he’ll handle it. Annie tells Martha to call 911 as she watches Mike beat Perry to death outside.
Martha tries to contact the police, but she’s only getting a busy signal. Annie locks the front door, telling Martha they have to leave and that Mike is sick like the other men since the meteor shower. Martha doesn’t believe her, even as Mike pounds on the door. Martha goes to open the door, but Mike gets in through the back door. He says that it felt good “letting that guy have it,” and then drinks water from the tap, which is filled with the same red substance they saw before.
Mike then says that Martha forgot her birthday cake, and lights the candles, revealing that he is covered in Perry’s blood as he sings to her. Barely controlling his rage, Mike demands Martha blow out her candles. He has a knife in his hand as he tells Martha to get closer. Mike says that Annie and Martha owe him a thank you for saving them and that two girls drinking at a bar meant they had been asking for Perry to follow them home. Annie tries to placate him, saying she has to explain something to him. Mike attacks Annie, choking her. Martha hits him over the head with a pan.
Not All Men
Annie and Martha leave to find Cole and Steve. Before they can get too far, their vehicle is hit by another car. They get out of the car and see a bloody woman stumbling in the streets and they hear sirens sounding in the distance. The two women now have to search for Cole on foot. As they make their way to the docks, they witness more violence in the streets, with men shooting guns, looting, destroying cars, and killing.
They run into Phil, who promises them that he doesn’t “have it,” that it’s not “all us men,” that it can’t be all of them. A couple of men run up and attack Phil, and Martha and Annie run as the chaos continues to escalate. Martha notices some of the meteorites on the ground and picks one up, saying that they’re making the men stronger and they have to fight back. It doesn’t work, though, and Annie says it only works on the men.
At the docks, Cole and Steve are drinking inside of one of the boats and have no idea what’s going on throughout the town. Steve tries to get Cole to drink beer with a piece of meteorite inside, but Cole says no. Steve starts to kiss Cole, but Cole says he’s not in the mood. Steve tells Cole not to be such a prude and kisses him again. Cole pushes him away and watches as Steve starts to act strange, his eyes turning red.
Annie and Martha finally find Cole as he stumbles out of the boat, having locked a now enraged Steve inside. Cole is crying, saying he doesn’t know what he did. Martha tells her son that it wasn’t his fault, that it’s the meteorites. Dylan suddenly appears dragging a large meteorite attached to a chain. Dylan attacks Annie, wrapping the chain around her neck and choking her. Cole rushes forward to help his aunt, coming into contact with the rock before being shoved to the ground.
As a helicopter appears overhead, Annie takes advantage of a distracted Dylan and frees herself before using the chain and meteor to hit Dylan over the head and push him into the water. At first, it appears as though Cole will be overtaken by whatever has been infecting the men, but he manages to resist and returns to his normal self. The three watch as the military approaches before taking them to safety.
After getting their blood checked and all of them coming back clean, Annie listens to nearby scientists discussing that the only commonality between the men infected are the meteorites and the water, saying it must be chemical. Cole reveals that he had one of the meteorites in his back pocket and he wasn’t affected, saying that it’s not all of them. Annie says there might not be a cure, then. The meteorites are a placebo, not a disease. Cole agrees, saying that he was able to stop because he simply chose to not turn, unlike the other men.
As they go to leave, a soldier checks their ID’s. He sees Annie’s picture and tells her she would look cuter if she smiled. She gets angry and says no before leaving with her family. A nearby TV announces news of a mass shooting by a male in his 20s, with no discernible motive, as well as two men in custody after a road rage incident. Peele closes out the episode, saying Annie Miller found herself at the center of a mysterious and violent epidemic. What she encountered “was no material disease, but rather a plague of conscience. One that gave men permission to ignore decency, consent, and fear.” All it took was a few “innocuous little rocks to turn men into monsters.”
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